In my aimless web-surfing today I learned about karagoz, a shadow-puppet theater form from Turkey. Although it started in court performances for the Ottoman Sultan, karagoz trickled down to become one of the most popular performing art forms in Turkey. Karagoz, or Black-Eye, is the main character in these plays, and is always cracking jokes at the expense of his friend Hacivad. In structure, it is similar to other folk theater forms — a prologue, set piece, the main play, and fixed epilogue. The plays use stock characters, similar to commedia dell’arte, although necessarily more germane to Turkey. Since I don’t know much about Indonesian puppet theater, I can’t compare it to that, but it would probably be cool to see a performance.

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